I’ve lived in Portland since I was 6 years old and I have loved getting to explore SO many beautiful places around the city! There are SO many beautiful Portland engagement photo locations!
How to choose a location
We all have places in our lives that make us feel relaxed and at peace, or places that hold special memories and meaning. Choose a place for your photos that feels like YOU. I usually tell my couples to either find a place that is special to them and their relationship, OR pick a spot you’ve always wanted to explore together, then make some new memories there during our shoot! I’m always happy to suggest ideas based off what you have in mind!
Here’s a list of my all-time favorite Portland engagement photo locations, with photo examples for you to see!
Also - if none of these ideas resonate with you, have you considered doing engagement photos in your home? Here’s a few reasons why that might be a good idea!
Portland engagement photo locations in nature
These are Portland engagement photo locations that are close to town but you give you more of a natural feel! Want the moody look of a forest, without having to drive super far? These spots are for you!
Hoyt Arboretum is my #1 favorite location in Portland. Why? The forest there is beautiful and varied. It’s super close to downtown. You can get moody photos or brighter shots. The location is HUGE. And because it is on top of the hill, you get really lovely, flattering light! Check out this shoot or this one or this one! And a few more here!
My favorite Forest Park location is a little off the beaten path; it’s actually up on NW Skyline Blvd where NW Saltzman Rd meets a firetrail. I used to ride my mountain bike here as a kid and it’s a beautiful spot for photos! Unlike other places in Forest Park, this particular location is on TOP of the hill so you get more flattering light. As much as I love hiking the Macleay Trails, the lighting down in that ravine is pretty terrible for photos! You can see more shoots from forest park on my blog here.
George Rogers Park
This park in Lake Oswego has great variety! It has a lush, moody forest, open beach, mossy rocks, grass, some decidous trees, a bridge, etc! It makes for a really fun and versatile location. Check out more photos here!
Laurelhurst Park is located in the middle of SE Portland and it has lots of beautiful flowers, deciduous trees, and a cute little pond! This is a great park-like setting for people who like fall foliage or spring flowers. The Laurelhurst Stairs always photograph well too! The park is flat and easy to walk around - a great location for people with limited walking abilities.
Mt Tabor is a huge forested park in SE Portland. There are sprawling trails that lead all around the cinder cone and up to the top. There are a ton of beautiful little spots to take photos in the forest, ferns, and with some distant city views.
You can see more Mt Tabor photos from this elopement!
Washington Park Rose Garden
The Rose Garden at Washington Park is a Portland staple. This massive rose garden is full of flowers and its the perfect romantic spot if you love florals! It can get busy during peak bloom times though - it’s often best at sunrise so you can have it all to yourself!
Cooper Mountain Nature Park
Cooper Mountain has beautiful golden fields and pine trees! If you want more of a golden, grass-field look, this is a perfect place! It also has gorgeous views out across the Willamette Valley. The location also has an evergreen forest section, so you can get a bit of everything here! It’s located in Beaverton.
Jenkins Estate is only about a mile from Cooper Mountain. This sprawling estate is one of my favorite photoshoot locations! It has a ton of variety. Beautiful forest, stunning rhodedendron tunnels, ferns, open fields, tons of flowers, even a small area that looks like a Japanese garden. This location is great if you want flowers! It also looks good in the fall. And it can photograph in a really nice moody way if you like moody images.
Lewis and Clark State Park
This little park along the Sandy river looks lovely for some riverside imagery! It also has a forest with some pretty ferns. You can see more photos here!
Dabney State Recreation Area
Dabney is also along the Sandy river near Troutdale and it has really nice lighting and good variety of forest and riverside locations! This place looks incredible in the fall.
Portland engagement photo locations in the city
These urban locations are perfect for colorful, fun, and stylish Portland engagement photos that show off the Portland vibe and spirit!
Eastbank Esplanade near OMSI
This is my number one favorite urban location in Portland! It has an amazing view of the city skyline and several docks that gives you the perfect backdrop along the river! Want to see more photos from this spot? Check out this blog, or this blog for more examples!
The Hawthorne Bridge is right by the OMSI location, so I often combine these two spots. The bridge has great views of Portland and easy access for pedestrians! You can see more photos here!
The Burnside Bridge in Portland has iconic views of Big Pink and the Portland sign! Perfect for classic Portland engagement photos.
I love the ridge reddish color of the Broadway Bridge and it has great views of the Pearl District, river, and the entire city! It really photographs well! You can see more Broadway Bridge photos on my blog here!
The Pearl District
There are a ton of great spots for Portland engagement photos in the Pearl District! You can wander around for ages. I love Tanner Springs and a particular parking garage nearby, but I always find new spots with cool lighting! You can see some more examples on this blog here!
This pedestrian bridge has such a beautiful and modern feel to it! It looks great in photos and it’s really easy to walk up since there are no cars on it!
St John’s Bridge
The St. John’s Bridge is stunning. It’s a little trickier to access than the other bridges and the walk up there is a little longer, but it looks beautiful in photos! You can combine this location with Cathedral Park.
Cathedral Park in North Portland is a mix between nature and urban, so I didn’t exactly know where to categorize it! It has lots of pretty trees, bushes and riverside locations, as well as industrial features on the edge of the park. And of course the majestic St. John’s Bridge standing over it.
Mississippi has some great little bars, alleys, and quirky locations that work great for pictures! It has a really great Portland vibe to it.
The NW 23rd neighborhood is super cute and great for an urban neighborhood shoot. There are lots of cute houses and historic buildings in the area. It does get crowded so this location works best at sunrise!
Alberta Arts District
Alberta has so many colorful walls, buildings and murals! It has a really playful artsy vibe that photographs really well.
There are lots of cute Portland bars, restaurants and neighborhood vibes around Division! If you live nearby, it can be a fun location to walk around and enjoy together.
Engagement photo locations outside of Portland
Crave something adventurous? These engagement locations are a further drive, but they are so worth it!! The Pacific Northwest has so many beautiful places to explore and I’m always down for a fun road trip so we can get to know each other better! There are a ton of places not on this list, but these are some of my tried-and-true favorites! Just note that some spots on this list might incur a small travel fee since they are significantly further from Portland!
Columbia River Gorge engagement photo locations
The Columbia River Gorge is my go-to place for stunning natural beauty and epic outdoor locations near Portland. Some of these spots are only about a 40 minute drive from the city!
The Portland Women’s forum has amazing views and hardly ever any crowds. I like it a lot more than Crown Point (it’s popular nieghbor) for this reason. Less tourists watching you is a good thing! You can see more photos from the Women’s Forum on my blog here, here, here, and here.
Crown Point can get busy with tourists, but you can’t deny that it has some of the best views of the gorge! The building has a historic beautiful vibe that adds to the romance of this spot.
My photographer friends sometimes refer to Government Cove as the “Iceland” of Oregon. It has mossy cliffs. It has epic views of the surrounding mountains. It has the river. It’s all-around stunning and also usually empty (except fellow photographers, because hey, we love this spot). Seriously epic views here! You can see more pictures of Government Cove on my blog here, here, here, and at the end of the blog posts here and here.
Latourell Falls is my go-to waterfall. It’s gorgeous and it’s SUPER easy to get to (just 40 minutes from Portland) plus it only takes like 5 minutes to walk down from the parking lot to the falls. You can also choose how close you want to get to it. You can stay comfortable on the paved path or walk a little trail all the way up underneath it! Check out more Latourell Falls photoshoots here, here, and here!
You can also see this proposal I recently photographed at Latourell here!
Wahkeena Falls is located on the historic highway. It’s a short walk up a paved path uphill, and then you are RIGHT in front of this beautiful little waterfall! It’s smaller than Latourell but still photographs sooo well.
You can see more examples on this Wahkeena Falls blog post
Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is a slightly longer walk than Wahkeena and Latourell, but it is also located along the Historic Highway. This falls is a little trickier to photograph due to its orientation, but if you love it we can make it happen!
Viento State Park
This windy park has beautiful views of the Washington side of the gorge and it’s situated right along the river. It has a really lovely, windswept and romantic feel. You can see more photos in the middle of this blog post, at the end of this blog post, and at the end of this one too.
Wahclella Falls was closed for several years after the gorge fires, but now it has reopened! Its a 1 mile hike each way to this stunning waterfall. Expect some fire damage, but the entire place is still remarkable. It’s a little less crowded than some of the other falls due to the 1 mile hike. Parking can be tough sometimes though!
Dalton Point is a nondescript boat launch along the Columbia River that looks beautiful in photos. There’s a little beach on one side that has amazing views of the cliff walls too. You just have to play it by ear because this amazing location changes a LOT depending on how high the water level is! It works best in drier months or whenever the river is low so you can walk out on the rocks for the best views. You can see more Dalton Point photos on my blog here, or at the end of this post here.
Steep Creek Falls
This secret waterfall is up a long dusty road on the Washington side of the gorge. It involves a short, slightly challenging trail (5 min) but the waterfall is totally private and looks amazing in photos. I could hang out here all day. Check out more photos of it here or here!
This is another riverside location, but this time on the Washington side of the gorge with good views of the Oregon side! It looks amazing in the fall when the willows turn a pretty color!
Beacon Rock has two beautiful locations - the boat ramp area that shows off the entire epic rock, as well as the trail that’s actually ON the rock, which has beautiful mossy rocks and dark forest vibes! You can see more pictures at the end of this blog post here.
If you drive deeper into the gorge, Rowena crest greets you with golden hills, drier landscapes and stunning vistas! It has more of a desert vibe than the western part of the gorge. You can see more Rowena Crest photos at the end of this blog post!
Mt Hood engagement photo locations
Mt. Hood has tons of stunning locations for engagement photos. I frequently drive up the mountain with couples and stop in random locations along the road because there are so many little spots that look good! These are a few of my favorites.
White River Recreation Area
My family went sledding here all the time when I was a kid! It gets crazy busy on weekends in the winter, but the rest of the time White River is pretty chill and it has beautiful views of Mt. Hood!
Timberline Lodge is iconic and has some of the best views of the mountain. I like to take pictures in various spots along the edge and back of the parking lot, and occasionally closer to the lodge (it gets really busy inside though). You can see more examples of how Timberline looks in photos on this wedding blog post here and elopement here as well as this old 2014 blog post here!
This 3.6 mile hike is awesome. The waterfall is stunning and there are a ton of great photo opportunities along the trail too! Perfect if you love hiking together! You can see more photo examples here.
This trailhead on the back side of Mt. Hood is incredibly private and a little tricky to find! But the views of the mountain at sunset are PERFECT. There are also a ton of beautiful forest locations nearby. It’s a really gorgeous way to escape into the back country around Mt. Hood and have a blast exploring. You can check out more epic photos from this shoot here!
Trillium Lake is open in the summer and has beautiful reflections of Mt Hood! In the winter and shoulder seasons you have to hike in.
Cooper Spur Resort is great for winter forest vibes! This short hike to a little warming hut in the forest is perfect for a winter wonderland shoot.
I love stopping at this mossy little campground on the way up Mt Hood! It has green PNW rainforest vibes and it’s usually less windy and exposed than most Mt Hood locations, making it a great starting point.
Oregon Coast engagement photo locations
I got my own engagement photos taken at the Oregon Coast because I love it so much! There are a ton of beautiful landscapes along the coast - rugged cliffs, mossy forests, and epic lonely beaches. There really is something for everyone!
This iconic rock in Cannon Beach always manages to steal the show! It looks so good in photos and it even has puffins living on it part of the year! Pro-tip: weekends in the summer are SUPER busy. You’ll get the best photos in shoulder seasons on days with less-than perfect weather when there is NO ONE on the beach! Check out more Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach photos here
Ecola State Park Viewpoint
Ecola State Park Forest
The forest in Ecola State Park is probably my favorite forest in the world, and I don’t say that lightly. It’s like Jurassic Park in there! It looks sooo good in pictures! I especially love it on foggy days. You can see more photos in the forest on blog posts here, here and here
Indian Beach at Ecola State Park
Indian Beach is the last beach on the northern most park of Ecola State Park. It has craggy rocks and the beach is usually not that busy except for a few surfers! There are beautiful stones along the beach, as well as lots of driftwood. It’s a magical place. Check out more Indian Beach photos here, and here,
Oregon has it all. It has beaches. It has waterfalls. It has… waterfalls ON beaches. That’s what Hug Point is. You do need to make sure to go at low tide though! Otherwise you can get trapped or not make it to the waterfall. Hug Point is only 5-10 minutes south of Cannon Beach, and is one of my all-time favorite locations. Check out more Hug Point photos at the very end of this blog post! or view this recent hug point proposal here!
Downtown Astoria has SO much character, and the boardwalk along the bridge is absolutely gorgeous!
This secret beach is located just past Oceanside and it is stunning! Parking is difficult and you have to walk down a bunch of stairs, but once you arrive you have an empty beach with a gorgeous sea-stack and beautiful rocks!
Oswald West State Park
This surfing hotspot is beautiful for photos! The forest photographs well, you can do the hike to Cape Falcon, and you can take pictures in this stunning cove. Super pretty place.
This beach has an old petrified forest peaking out of the waves, and a beautiful tree-covered sea-stack. It has a really amazing Pacific Northwest vibe and it’s less well-known than some of the other spots I mentioned. Check out more Neskowin photos on my blog here!
Cape Kiwana in Pacific City was just made to be photographed. The wild orange cliffs and sand dunes are insanely beautiful and really fun to explore! Check out more Cape Kiwanda photos here and a few super old ones from 2014 at the end of this blog post here!.
Heads up - as of spring 2021 they have put up a new fence on Cape Kiwanda that severely restricts access and photo views. It’s still a gorgeous location, but it’s harder to photograph than before!
This strange land formation in Lincoln City is about a 2 mile hike and results in some dramatic views of the Oregon coastline!
Yaquina Head is a stunning peninsula just north of Newport. There are abundant wildflowers in the spring, rocky and dramatic cliffs, and beautiful lighthouse, and cobblestone beaches. It’s a photographer and nature-lover’s dream.
You can see a Yaquina Head sunrise shoot on this recent blog post!
Southwest Washington engagement photo locations
Lacamas Lake is just outside Camas and has some beautiful photo spots! You can take pictures along the lake by the beautiful forest, or you can go to the “potholes” area with interesting water and rock formations! It’s all stunning. You can see more pictures on this blog post!
Moulton Falls Regional Park is 40 minutes northeast of Vancouver and is an epic spot for photos! The park sits along the East Fork of the Lewis River and there are a lot of goregous spots for pictures. I love the tall arch bridge that looks like something out of a fairytale! There are also dramatic rock formations, places to swim, and some waterfalls. You can see more pictures from this shoot here!
Groth Nature Preserve in Brush Prairie
This patch of forest next to Lucky Memorial Dog Park is a hidden gem. You can get clear views of Mt Hood in the distance from the grassy fields by the dog park. Then, you can walk into Groth Nature Preserve for some beautiful deep forest vibes! This location is in Brush Prarie, super close and convenient for Vancouver folks.
Mt Saint Helens
Mt St Helens is dramatic and makes for a super unique engagement photo location! If you don’t mind the drive, the best place to start is at the Johnson Ridge Observatory. From there you can hike along the trails with amazing views of the crater! So amazing at sunset!
Central Oregon photo locations
The high desert in Central Oregon is a beautiful place to take engagement photos! My best friend lives in Bend so I’m always looking for excuses to head there for pictures!
Smith Rock State Park
I’m obsessed with Smith Rock State Park. It’s definitely one of my top favorite places in Oregon. The jagged rocks have tons of trails and the Crooked river meanders so beautifully through meadows of soft grass. It looks incredible at sunset and it’s one the best places for Central Oregon engagement photos! Check out more Smith Rock engagement photos here, and here!
The Painted Hills
The Painted Hills are far away but the drive is beautiful and its so worth it! It’s seriously like taking photos on another planet. The colors are incredible and it’s really a fun and unique experience! You can see all the photos from this Painted Hills engagement shoot on my blog here!
There are lots of fun spots around Mt. Bachelor for engagement photos! The snow-parks have mountain views and look amazing in the winter.
I love taking photos in Warm Springs! You can get great images along the Deschutes River in multiple spots, and then you can head out of the canyon for photos in the grasslands closer to Mt Hood. The sagebrush and hills are so dramatic. Perfect high desert vibes.
Willamette Valley engagement photo locations
There are a few awesome spots in the Willamette Valley that I absolutely LOVE for engagement photos! If you live somewhere like Corvallis, Salem, or Albany, these are great options to consider!
Silver Falls State Park
This state park has more waterfalls that it even needs. The forest is beautiful and the falls look epic. Can’t go wrong here! I usually start at the South Falls Day Use Area and there are ton of beautiful photo opportunieis from there.
Willamette Valley Vineyards
Willamette Valley Vineyards is easy to get to (right off I-5) and it has amazing views! It looks especially awesome in the fall when the leaves turn yellow. Stop by for some wine tasting (bring me!!) and then get permission to take photos after!
Bush Pasture Park
I absolutely love Bush Pasture Park in downtown Salem! This park bursts to life in the spring with SO many flowers. There is also a really gorgeous greenhouse that you can go in too! One of my favorite flower locations in Oregon.
I used to love to drive up Mary’s Peak while I was in college! It’s got the highest views in the Coast Range and although it is sometimes windy, it looks really amazing in photos. The mountain views are insane and it feels like being on top of the world! You can see more photos at the end of this 2015 blog post here!
Fitton Green Natural Area
Fitton Green is this secret spot outside of Corvallis that has amazing mountain views without a long drive. It’s a short hike (maybe about a mile loop?) and it looks incredible at sunset! Lots of open space and pretty grass. You can see more photoshoots from Fitton Green here and at the end of this blog post here!